#125: The British Library and its treasures

In almost every guide book it says to check out the British Library. And after living  in London for 8 years, I felt it was finally time. Impress me Library. […]


Beethovens's tuning fork

Beethovens’s tuning fork

In almost every guide book it says to check out the British Library. And after living  in London for 8 years, I felt it was finally time. Impress me Library.

As the national library of the UK, the British Library is a major research library, holding over 150 million items from all over the world. The Library’s collections include around 14 million books, along with substantial holdings of manuscripts and historical items dating back as far as 2000 BC. The Library adds around three million items every year occupying 9.6 kilometres of new shelf space. And not just books. These other items include journals, sound and music recordings, videos, scripts, patents, databases, maps, stamps, prints and drawings.

As the British Library was supposed to be a “must-see”, I assumed it was going to be this beautiful building. Not so much. It ended up being a 90’s purpose-built concrete building that is not so inspiring. The inside isn’t much better. Or at least what I saw, because you have to have a library card to get into the majority of the rooms. So exploring is a little limited. You can flip through the Philatelic Collection (aka stamps) for a not so exciting experience, or just head to the Sir John Ritblat Gallery for the craziest eclectic collection of “treasures” that will blow your mind for FREE:

British Library Beatles

Handwritten lyrics to Yesterday

 

  • The Magna Carta 1215
  • The Guttenberg Bible 1454 – 1455
  • Aesop, Fables, printed 1484
  • “The St Cuthbert Gospel”  – the oldest surviving book in Europe
  • The Beowulf Manuscript – 11th century
  • Shakespeare’s First Folio – 1623
  • Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” with drawings by the author
  • Sketches by Leonardo da Vinci
  • Jane Austen’s notepad
  • Musical scores by the likes of Bach and Mozart
  • Mozart’s marriage contract from 1782
  • Beethoven’s tuning fork
  • Scribbled lyrics of Lennon and McCartney (A Hard Day’s Night written on a sheet with a cartoon train)

British Library 96 Euston Rd, London, Greater London NW1 2DB
www.bl.uk

British Library Alice in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland

British Library Davinci

British Library Davinci

Birthday card with Lyrics for A Hard Day's Night

Birthday card with Lyrics for A Hard Day’s Night

 

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